I am an optimist – really, I am.
When the news hit that Youtube was going to offer an ad-free service, much like Spotify, I did some reading.
I got an email, myself, about this (as I am a content creator on the side and my account is classed as a ‘partner’ account) but I didn’t read it fully. I just assumed the change in terms and conditions was one of those things they get you to agree to because they’ve changed some wording… wording no one really understands anyway, right?
It’s only when it hit the news that I realised I should really look into this. Here’s what I found:
Youtubers who sign up to be a part of the subscription process will get 55% of the subscription fees they generate.
This sounds great and is apparently going to boost the larger youtubers income – fabulous. They’ve made this crazy place their work place. Kudos for realising they need to be paid, Youtube.
The only thing that worries me, much like the problem with Tidal, is that they might run the risk of cutting out their viewers who won’t (or more likely can’t) pay a monthly subscription fee. I, for one, won’t pay to watch someone on Youtube knowing Youtube will get a cut.
This is going to create a huge divide, in my opinion, between the smaller Youtubers and the larger ones. A divide that’s already there and the cause of a little internet grief.
The people who make their money from ads in their videos are already shoving advertising down viewers throats – sometimes without their viewers realising it. Sponsored videos have been on the increase and, due to sponsors only approaching the more popular content creators (because, duh!) the smaller content creators can’t get a way into making money other than to have ads at the start of their videos. The money made from in-video ads is pitiful and Youtube, of course, already take money from them.
From what I can tell Youtube are turning into less of a social media outlet and more of a money making Production Company where the ‘talent’ are tied into contracts much like the old studios used to do in the golden days of ‘owning actors’.
Due to the need for some people to make money from their videos more and more content creators are having to turn to places like Patreon; a site that allows users to donate money to their favourite creators and gets special perks in exchange (such as behind the scenes, extra videos, live streams etc), but doesn’t cut out the people who aren’t donating in the meantime. A.K.A; choice.
By enforcing a paying service and moving videos to a ‘paying customers only’ section Youtube are, surely, cutting out the most important people in this who process… No, not the creators – the viewer.
In the wake of this it really wouldn’t surprise me if another video streaming service popped up to rival Youtube. Out of the ashes, yada yada yada.
Of course, I could be wrong and it could all work out OK… except I remember when Spotify did something similar and the backtrack was phenomenal.
I suppose this all feeds into our generation of ‘I can have what I want’… but that’s far too thoughtful, even for this blog.